The Indianapolis Colts receiver faced his former team in Saturday night's preseason affair, and he showed up in a huge way. Nicks racked up five catches for 53 yards in a spectacular first-half showing.
New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano noted his stat line should have been much better:
Hakeem Nicks: 5 catches, 53 yards, not including the 35-yard catch that was nullfied by his "taunting" penalty at the end.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) August 17, 2014
The 26-year-old was aggressive in gaining separation from cornerbacks, pinpointing the ball with strong hands and avoiding defenders to get up the field. His play forced flashbacks to 2011, when Nicks was an elite No. 1 wideout for the Super Bowl-winning Giants.
NFL Around the League observed Nicks' impact on the game:
Hakeem Nicks looks reinvigorated for Colts. "He's the star of the game," says color analyst.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) August 16, 2014
It remains to be seen how Nicks will fit into the Colts' full-strength offense. Part of why the sixth-year pro got so much play was the fact that Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton sat out of Saturday's game.
At the same time, quarterback Andrew Luck is entering his third year, and the No. 1 quarterback's continued growth will make for even the Colts' third receiving option to become fantasy relevant.
What's the most realistic fantasy role for Hakeem Nicks in 2014?
Nicks should be well behind Wayne and Hilton's production from a fantasy standpoint, and he also has to compete with Da'Rick Rogers. It will be easier said than done for him to stay on the field, much less become a fantasy stud.
With that said, a change of scenery can often be just what it takes for a player to turn that proverbial corner.
The former first-round pick has the credentials to make him an intriguing breakout option throughout the 2014 season, and his experience bodes well. But he'll be no more than a sporadic bench player in standard fantasy leagues until he develops a much more defined role in Indy.